Nigerian MVX Secures 1.3 Million to Simplify Freight Shipping to Africa
Import and export companies, as they are commonly referred to in Africa, are going through a major technological revolution. Almost all mobile parts of the sector are digitized to provide more agile and democratic access to maritime resources, especially trucks, ocean containers and ship supplies.
In Nigeria, MVX, a startup active in this sector, raised a funding round of $ 1.3 million to expand its operations, expand its talent pool and improve its technology.
The cycle was led by Kepple Africa, The Continent Venture Partners, Founders Factory, Launch Africa and Capital Oak. Some angel investors in the United States, Japan, Nigeria and South Africa also participated.
Sometimes the construction takes forever. Sometimes it takes a little while.
In 2015, while working in the maritime industry, Tonye Membere-Otaji, CEO of MVX noticed the lack of a ships market in Africa and began to nurture the idea of building one. But that was only an idea for a long time due to the lack of the right team to build with.
Finally, in 2019, four years later, the idea came to life and MVX was launched alongside Oluwatobi Amusa who serves as CTO, following a $ 100,000 pre-seed from Oui Capital, Neon Ventures, Zircon marine and some angel investors.
“I decided to find a way to solve this ship finding problem because there were too many middlemen, which made the processes difficult,” Membere-Otaji told TechCrunch.
The right pivot at the right time
Initially, the startup was launched as a vessel market called MVXchange where Offshore Vessel Support (OVS) charter requests and correspondence are carried out. But in March of last year, the company transformed into a digital freight booking platform, helping freight owners find deals to move containers across Nigeria, MVXtransit.
According to the CEO, the uncertainty of the price of oil and the COVID-19 pandemic were the main reasons for the pivot.
“We didn’t see ourselves chartering ships in the long term because the demand for fossil fuels will certainly decrease over the next decades. We wanted to do something scalable, something impactful and something we could be proud of over the next 20 years, ”he added.
In April, the company launched another product offering called MVXpay, a finance and payment solution designed to provide commercial financing to freight operators. She then merged MVXtransit and MVXpay into one product to form MVX.
It’s a great way to merge both fintech and commerce into one product. For example, a merchant can apply for credit to move shipments from Africa to America on the MVX. Then MVX will forward the request to its financial partners, who will provide the client with funds provided the minimum requirements are met. MVX then takes care of the shipment and delivers it to America.
Although MVX charges a commission for the services provided, including trucking, warehousing, shipping and loading of goods, this is a complete business cycle, carried out on one platform.
“We make it easy and convenient for businesses. Instead of trying to do everything themselves which can be chaotic and distracting from their core business, we take care of everything because we have all these service providers on one platform. So because the shippers work with us, MVX works with seven to ten other service providers, ”Membere-Otaji said.
Satoshi Shinada, General Partner of Kepple Africa, said: “The commercial sector in Africa is one that we believe is ripe for disruption. MVX is building a revolutionary technology and platform to revolutionize the way African businesses move shipping and trade around the world.
The startup, which currently operates in Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Ghana and Rwanda, says it has processed more than 300 shipments this year and plans to do away with 1,500. The CEO also says the company has overtaken its turnover and traction figures for 2020.
From MVXchange in 2019 to MVXtransit in 2020, to MVXpay in 2021, and now to MVX. One thing is clear, this company will continue to blend and evolve with the ever changing market as fast as possible to generate relevant solutions and profitability. And with funding like this and funders like Kepple, he would be able to do just that, comfortably.